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Top 20 Best Frightfest Movies of All Time, Ranked from Worst to Best


Top 20 Best Frightfest Movies of All Time, Ranked from Worst to Best

These movies are a frightful delight.

Frightfest is an annual event that takes place most commonly in London and Glasgow. Each year different horror and fantasy movies are shown to viewers, usually before their theatrical release. Fightfest is known to oftentimes help the success of these movies, as early watchers’ feedback during the event boosts the hype surrounding them.

Since Frightfest started in the year 2000, there has been an abundance of quintessential films shown. While there’s more than plenty of great movies that showed at the event, here are the Frightfest movies with the capability of withstanding time and are also known as some of the best Frightfest horror movies out there.

20. Disturbia

A young woman standing next to a young man who's holding a pair of binoculars.
Image Source: Paramount Pictures via IMDb

When a teenage boy ends up on house arrest after an incident at school, he decides to pass the time spying on his neighbors with a pair of binoculars. While spying on one of his neighbors, he begins to suspect that he might actually be a serial killer.

Disturbia is pure enjoyment bottled up into a movie. As an adaptation of the classic movie Rear Window, it manages to differentiate itself by modernizing the tale and adding some lighthearted jokes, but it’s still thrilling with plenty of action like the original. It’s one of the best popcorn movies, which is why it easily slid its way onto this list.

19. Summer of ’84

A group of 4 young teenagers walking side by side and holding flashlights.

Summer of ’84 follows a group of kids who believe that the local police officer might be a serial killer. As their investigation starts to get out of hand, the group finds that their lives are at stake.

Summer of ’84 has drawn many comparisons to Stranger Things because it also follows younger teens in the ’80s. While there are similarities in the overall vibe, this movie has more of a focus on the mystery, and there are no Demogorgons involved here. Despite their likeness, Summer of ’84 stands its own ground by having great suspense and unique characters.

18. 1408

A man standing by an open window looking panicked and holding a lamp.
Image Source: Dimension Films via IMDb

In 1408, an author decides to stay in the most haunted room at a haunted hotel in order to write a book about it. During his stay there, he begins to see wild hallucinations and spirits as he begins to lose touch with reality.

One of the more interesting facts about 1408 is that it actually released with a different ending in theaters than the version shown later on DVDs and streaming services, meaning it’s likely that two people who have seen the film might not have watched the same finale.

17. The Innkeepers

A woman and man holding a flashlight and looking down a flight of stairs.
Image Source: Magnolia Pictures via IMDb

The Innkeepers takes place in a hotel with a haunted past. When two new guests that have a history with the place arrive, two employees decide to investigate whether or not the hotel is truly haunted.

This movie’s slow pace really helps build up the suspense and proves that in a ghost story sometimes less is more. Its dark atmosphere and spooky hotel setting really set the tone and give the viewer an uneasy feeling before anything scary even happens.

16. You’re Next

A woman holding an axe, standing in front of a window.
Image Source: Lionsgate via IMDb

When a young woman named Erin goes on a dinner date to meet her partner’s family for his parent’s wedding anniversary, everything begins to fall apart when they realize they’re being targeted by a group of killers.

Erin is probably one of the best final girls in all of horror, as she was someone who was smart, brave, and willing to put up a fight. You’re Next takes an interesting turn as it’s one of the few horror films where the victim ends up becoming the threat.

15. Oculus

A young woman and man standing in front of a window, both looking behind them.
Image Source: Entertainment One via IMDb

After being released from a mental institution where he was committed for murdering his parents, his sister convinces him to return to their childhood home where the murders occurred. Convinced that paranormal entities were at play in the tragic events, the two set up cameras around the house in order to gain proof, all while reliving their childhood trauma.

What makes this movie especially interesting is that there are two timelines being shown, and the more revealed in the past makes the events in the present timeline even scarier. Oculus is an incredibly chilling movie that at times feels reminiscent of The Haunting of Hill House, which is also written and directed by Mike Flanagan.

14. The House of the Devil

A young woman with blood and sweat all over her face.
Image Source: MPI Media Group via IMDb

After a college student takes on a babysitting job, she finds the situation suspicious as she never sees who she’s supposed to be watching. When mysterious events begin to occur, she realizes her employer requested her service for more sinister reasons.

The House of the Devil is a film that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. It’s a mysterious film that makes the viewer feel as if they’re actually there, watching everything unravel alongside the main character. It also has a ’70s and ’80s aesthetic to it, which makes it reminiscent of old horror flicks.

13. Oldboy

A man with a bruised face holding up a notepad at a store, standing beside a younger woman.
Image Source: CJ Entertainment via IMDb

After being imprisoned for years, a man named Dae-Su is released and given some essential items such as clothes, a cell phone, and money. With no information as to why he was jailed or released, he makes a plan to hunt down the people who captured him.

Oldboy’s fast pacing, shocking ending, and amazing visuals make it a movie worth watching – and it’s certainly different from many other films that have played at Frightfest. Even though this one isn’t horror like many others on this list, it still manages to be one of the best.

12. The Descent

Two women lying down in a cave, looking worried.
Image Source: Celador Films

When a group of friends decides to go on an expedition through a cave, things take a dark turn when they become trapped inside and then realize they aren’t the only people, or creatures, there.

The Descent is a creature feature with monsters that are reminiscent of the Wendigoes on Supernatural. The creatures in the film referred to as crawlers, are blind and rely on their hearing to attack, which results in an anxiety-inducing movie that’s certainly memorable.

11. Upgrade

A man screaming under red lighting.
Image Source: Blumhouse Productions

Taking place in a technologically advanced future, Upgrade follows a man who loses his wife and becomes paralyzed after a car crash. When a scientist reaches out to him to test a new chip that will give him the ability to move again, he accepts the offer. After realizing his other senses are heightened as well, he then decides to take revenge on whoever caused the accident that ruined his life.

Unlike many other Frightfest movies, Upgrade is more of a science fiction movie instead of a horror or fantasy. It’s a film that will keep the viewer on their toes and shocked by its reveals but also manage to bring out a few laughs from its comedic moments.

10. Donnie Darko

Man holding up a flashight with a determined face.
Image Source: Newmarket Films via IMDb

Donnie Darko follows a teenage boy who sees a man dressed up in a bunny costume. No one else can see this man except for him, and the man dressed up as a bunny warns Donnie that the world will soon come to an end.

Donnie Darko feels like a trip, there are so many wild things happening in the movie that constantly keep the viewer guessing about what’s real and what’s not. This is the type of movie that will leave the viewer questioning what happened hours after watching, in the best way possible.

9. The Orphanage

A young boy standing in a hallway with a nightgown and scary sheet over his head.
Image Source: Rodar y Rodar

After a woman moves back into her childhood orphanage with her family and turns it into a home for sick children, she begins to see the spirits of children who lived in the orphanage before. When her son becomes sick and goes missing, she believes that the ghosts are trying to help her find her son.

While The Orphanage is a ghost story at its core, at times it could be more touching than it is scary. This isn’t to say the movie doesn’t have horror elements, there are creepy themes and scares throughout the film, but its heartbreaking story sets it apart from other ghost movies.

8. Battle Royale

A group of students passed out on a bus.
Image Source: Toei Company

Battle Royale follows a class of high schoolers as they’re all sent to an island with collars around their necks. They’re told that in order to make it out alive, they have to fight each other and become the last survivor, or else all of their collars will explode.

There’s a lot of debate surrounding the origin of the battle royale genre, but there’s no denying that this movie helped to define battle royale as we know it in movies, games, and TV today. Movies like The Hunger Games and video games like Apex Legends and Fortnite probably wouldn’t be around today if it weren’t for this movie.

7. The Conjuring

A person tied up to a chair with a blanket over them, while a woman besides them is screaming and trying to exorcise them.
Image Source: Warner Bros. Pictures via IMDb

In the 1970s, a family moves into a new home and finds an evil presence having a negative effect on their family. As things begin to worsen, they contact ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren to rid their home of the malevolent spirits.

The Conjuring is undoubtedly one of the best modern ghost movies, as it combines so many horrifying themes like harmful spirits, exorcisms, and real-life ghost hunters. The fact that it’s based on true events makes it all the more terrifying.

6. Train to Busan

A group of people looking panicked and running on a train.
Image Source: Next Entertainment World via IMDb

The action never stops in Train to Busan, as a man becomes trapped in a speeding train with his daughter during a zombie apocalypse. Despite the odds, he will stop at nothing to keep his family safe.

Train to Busan is ultimately a film about family, love, and sacrifice. Zombies are just used as a way to get their point across, as it shows the good side of humanity and how people will do anything for those they love, resulting in an emotional, yet thrilling journey.

5. 28 Days Later

A man standing in a deserted London wearing hospital clothes, with the Big Ben in view behind him.
Image Source: 20th Century Studios via IMDb

28 Days Later follows Jim, who wakes up in a hospital from a coma and realizes that he’s left in an apocalyptic world. He then meets up with a group of other survivors, and together they embark on a dangerous journey to find a safe location to live the rest of their lives.

28 Days Later is so much more than a zombie movie, as it shows how horrible humanity can become when in a dire situation. Compared to other zombie flicks, this one stands out because it shows how people can actually be scarier than monsters. After this film came out, the complexities of zombies in most entertainment shifted, with content like The Last of Us, The Walking Dead, and more clearly drawing inspiration from 28 Days Later.

4. The Devil’s Backbone

A creepy ghost child standing in a sewer.
Image Source: Canal+ España

Taking place during the Spanish civil war, an orphaned boy moves into a new school. As he explores his new home, he begins to see the spirit of another boy who may have lived there before.

Guillermo del Toro has gone on to make many iconic films since this one, but The Devil’s Backbone is the movie that really put him out there as a horror mastermind after having his big break with Cronos. This movie fantastically blends horror, war, and the perils of childhood.

3. The Babadook

A bloody woman screaming and holding her child.
Image Source: Umbrella Entertainment

The Babadook follows a single mother who has been struggling with mental health problems after the loss of her husband. All the while, her son begins to claim there is a monster in their home, which begins to haunt the both of them.

The Babadook is an incredibly thoughtful movie that shows how difficult it can be to be a mother while also grappling with depression. There are many more horrors that this movie conveys other than the monster, which gives it more depth than the average scary movie.

2. Barbarian

A woman looking around a house with a man standing behind her.
Image Source: 20th Century Studios

When a young woman arrives at her AirBnB to find that another man has already been booked there, she makes the risky choice to stay there as well. After a while, she begins to hear mysterious sounds and discovers a hidden room in the basement, and realizes she’s not as safe as she thought.

Barbarian is a movie that will constantly keep the viewer guessing, and it was praised for being comedic, mysterious, and not taking itself too seriously while still managing to be creepy. One of the biggest criticisms of the film is the protagonist’s commitment to making bad decisions, but without her mistakes, the movie wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

1. Pan’s Labyrinth

A young girl confronting a pale monster who's sitting at a dinner table with missing eyes and sharp bloody claws.
Image Source: Warne Bros. Pictures

Pan’s Labyrinth follows a young girl named Ofelia during the Spanish civil war. After following a fairy who leads her directly to a faun, the faun tells her that she’s a princess, but in order to claim her kingdom she must undergo three trials to prove that she’s worthy.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a beautiful combination of fantasy and horror as it shows a little girl desperate to escape the horrors of reality and live in a fantasy world. It’s a movie that has so much emotion to it, even the fantasy aspects of the movie are dark, while the horror is reflected more in the war and horrid life that Ofelia endures.

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